In time of crisis, press freedom alone cannot help, but press freedom with responsibility
With or without knowing, live broadcasting and repetitions of violent scenes of a tragic incident of gun firing against civilians by an angry army officer who lost control over the weekend, which has resulted in almost 30 killed and nearly 60 injured, have proved to be out of control again.
Severall allegations were raised against both conventional and alternative media, which had exploited the advantage of technology to draw the incident close to the audience, but in turn, posed risks to officers on the frontline as well as victims who were exposed to the threat.
With lives at stake, the work by the media this time should not be let go easily.
It serves a lesson learned by all parties, especially the media who can play both a positive and negative role in any incident that can put lives in danger.
The National Boardcasting and Telecommunication Commission today held a meeting with digital TV operators to inform them about the lessons taken from the media’s work in the incident, and promised to lay a new guideline for concerned parties to follow to prevent such poor media pratices to occur again, but whether that is really enough if we want the Thai media to improve and perform with quality, or in other word, be reformed as long wished.
The latest view by a senior NBTC commissioner today was that it’s possible that warnings would be issued against those who violated the rule during the incident, and nothing more than that despite there were found facts of the rule breaking action by the media.
As lives are at stake during the time of crisis, it’s necessary to place any allegations against the media under scrutiny so that every time they are seriously investigated, proportional measures could be delivered, and the sound standard of practices be developed and introduced, along with the new level of ethics.
All these are for one prime goal; to keep the media in check and to fulfil the commitment they have with people, “press freedom with responsibility”_no matter what we will call it, a reform, or not.
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